Friday 23 June 2017

Compass Points 219

This week was National Breastfeeding Week and ex-midwife, parenting consultant and author Rachel Fitz-Desorgher hosted a Q&A session on the Mother and Baby social media pages to talk about this while ever so subtly promoting her fantastic new book Your Baby Skin to Skin (£12.99, pb, 978 1910336311) which is out from White Ladder Press. If you’re on Facebook, you can watch that session here - there have been over 4,500 views of it already! Your Baby Skin to Skin has had ecstatic reviews from parents, e.g. “After my second baby was born, I got rid of all the parenting books I had ever bought and swore I'd never buy another. The conflicting advice about 'the right way' to parent in the early years had ended up feeling deeply unhelpful. Your Baby Skin to Skin is the first book I've picked up since then that has had the opposite effect. It reminded me that the most helpful advice is simply to trust my instincts and listen to my baby” and really does give parents a fresh, empowering approach by the woman who has been described as “the best mother, doula, midwife and best friend all rolled into one”.

Here's a cool story – a dustbin man in Columbia has built a free community library of thrown away books. Mr Gutierrez, who has gained the nickname The Lord of the Books, began collecting books that had been dumped in the waste bins in wealthier parts of the city – the collection began with discarded copy of Anna Karenina.

The Sunday Herald's Culture Awards, dubbed Scotland's Oscars, have been unveiled and many congratulations to Birlinn who have THREE authors on the Author of the Year shortlist. The awards, now in their second year, are to celebrate, reward and nurture the huge pool of talent across the Scottish arts and cultural scene and the Birlinn three join a starry line up which include Ewan McGregor, Karen Gillan and David Tennant. The authors are: Liz Lochhead (Fugitive Colours, 978 1846973451), Kevin MacNeil (The Brilliant & Forever, 978 1846973376) and Malachy Tallack (The Un-Discovered Islands 978 846973505 and 60 Degrees North 978 1846973420). The Culture Awards will be held on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at Glasgow’s stylish art and music venue, SWG3.

James McAvoy won a Culture award last year – I love this clip of him on The Late Show explaining to a US audience exactly what it means to be Scottish!

Meet Simon Haines. For a decade, he's been chasing his dream: partnership at a law firm. The gruelling hours of his job have come close to breaking him, but he is now within a whisker of his millions and in less than two weeks, he will know the outcome of the partnership vote. He decides to spend the wait in Cuba to clear his mind before the arrival of the news that might change his life forever. But alone in Havana he becomes lost in nostalgia and begins to relive his past… Set against the backdrop of an uncertain world, Being Simon Haines by Tom Vaughan MacAulay (£8.99, pb 978 1910453353) is a searching story about the current generation of young professionals and their aspirations. It asks the most universal of questions: are we strong enough to know who we are? It was published by Red Door yesterday, with a launch at Waterstone’s Leadenhall and Red Door have organised a super Book Blogs Tour for it and reviews have been extremely enthusiastic – have a look and read the opening chapter of the book here.  
There is also an advertising campaign running on the Docklands Light Railway for the next three weeks plus a fun promotion with teaser cards promoting it on tube trains around the city and twenty copies of the book placed around London for readers to discover. This is all backed up with a clever Twitter campaign – have a look at #WhoIsSimonHaines . Being Simon Haines is an assured and intelligent debut: The Times said it “pushes all the seductive buttons in a world tangential to our own” and if you’d like to find out more, you can read a piece where Tom talks about writing it in the Warrington Guardian here.

There was an excellent interview with Alison Murdoch this week, discussing her powerful and poignant book Bed 12 (£9.99, pb, 9780995647800) about how it feels to suddenly plunge into the world of acute medicine, on BBC Radio London: you can listen to that here; (it starts at 2hours 6 minutes in). Dr Phil Hammond said this book was “a love letter to the NHS, and the everyday acts of kindness that keep it afloat ... it needs to be widely read” and Alison will be talking about it on Good Morning Sunday on 25th June and Hikari Press are expecting more coverage for it in the Guardian, Red Magazine and the Evening Standard. Alison will also be reading at The Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London on Saturday 24th June – details are here – and talking at The Royal Medical Society on 7th July.

In a thoroughly uncertain world, what you need to set yourself up for the day is a superfood breakfast and Lorenz have just the book. Superfood Breakfasts! 50 Smoothie Bowls, Power Bars & Energy Balls: Smoothie Bowls and Power-Packed Seed Bars and Balls to Start the Day by Sara Lewis (hb, £9.99, 978 0754832379) is bursting with fabulous breakfast ideas packed with essential vitamins, minerals, good fats, good carbs and fibre to help keep our body in tip-top shape and to boost our immunity. Soul and Spirit Magazine is featuring this title in in its July issue – you can see a couple of spreads from it below!

This week is Refugee Week so an ideal opportunity to remind you about Voices from the Jungle (pb, £14.99, 978 0745399683). The refugee camp near Calais epitomises for many the suffering, uncertainty and violence which characterises the situation of refugees in Europe today. But the media soundbites we hear often ignore the voices of the people who lived there; people who are looking for peace and a better future, people with astounding stories. Voices from the Jungle is a collection of these stories told in powerful, vivid language and illustrated with photographs, poems and drawings by the refugees. It paints a picture of a different kind of Jungle; one with a powerful sense of community despite evictions and attacks, and of a solidarity which crosses national and religious boundaries. It should be read by anyone hoping to understand this crisis a little better and you can see some of the pictures and read extracts from it on a blog here introduced by one of the editors, Katrine Møller Hansen. There have been promotional events for it linking in with Refugee Week at UEL, and at Book and Kitchen tomorrow – you can see more info about that one here. Voices from the Jungle: Stories from the Calais Refuge Camp is published by Pluto.

The Threat Level Remains Severe (pb, £8.99, 978 1910709153) published next month by Gallic has been chosen as one of Red Online's top summer reads  - you can see that here and its author Rowena Macdonald will feature in the Telegraph's Stella magazine on 2nd July, writing about her experience of having been stalked at work. Confirmed magazine review coverage also includes Good Housekeeping and Closer.

What’s the difference between a public service organisation and a sailing boat? You can find the answer here in an extract from The Moral Heart of Public Service, where its editor Claire Foster-Gilbert of the Westminster Abbey Institute explores why we so often think that members of the public service lack moral integrity. There was some great publicity this week in the Telegraph for this title which has just been published by Jessica Kingsley; a long interview with one of the contributors, Mary McAleese with two juicy plugs for the book!

On the subject of moral integrity, and as the Brexit talks finally grind into gear, I think it’s a good time to watch this  – Tracey Ullman as Angela Merkel!

Millions of teens around the country are in the throes of exams. Tears, tizzes and tantrums abound – and that's just the parents. Two men hoping to help children and their parents get a handle on the most effective ways of revising, and handling stress have a brilliant book out from Crown House packed with their expert tips – and it’s getting lots of publicity! Bradley Busch and Edward Watson have worked with Premier League footballers and Olympians, and strongly believe that the techniques they’ve used to coach elite athletes can help children achieve their potential. Release Your Inner Drive: Everything You Need to Know about How to Get Good at Stuff (£9.99, pb, 978 1785831997) was featured recently here in the Daily Mail, and here in the Guardian and there will be more to come – these authors are GREAT at self-promotion! “LOVE this book. Perfect for teenagers as has lots of tips based on research. The graphics are fab and really colourful, so grabs attention quickly. The parts on motivation and mindset really stand out. Would definitely recommend other parents get this book” is typical of the Amazon reviews – do NOT let them get all the sales!!

Actually, I think all you need to know about revision and exams is contained in this  classic Mr Bean clip – I can’t actually believe it was first broadcast 27 years ago!! Still comedy gold IMO.

A phenomenon in Turkey with more than 120,000 copies sold; Women Who Blow on Knots (pb, £9.99, 978 1910901694) chronicles a voyage reaching from Tunisia to Lebanon, taken by three young women and septuagenarian Madam Lilla. Its author Ece Temelkuran weaves an empowering tale pondering not only the social questions of politics, religion and women in the Middle East, but also the universal bonds of sister- and motherhood. Unique and controversial in its country of origin for its political rhetoric and strong, atypically Muslim female characters, it is Foyle’s Book of the Month for June and there have also been well attended events promoting it at Waterstones Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square; preview launches at Asia House, and appearances at the Hay Festival, the Edinburgh Festival and the Stoke Newington Literature Festival. KulturWest described it as being “like a firework. It is the book where Twitter and the Thousand and One Nights fairytales meet.” Ece Temelkuran is one of Turkey’s best-known novelists and political commentators and this title is a PEN Translates Award Winner – definitely one to watch. As one reviewer said “If you cannot think of a better road story with heroines other than Thelma & Louise, you should read this novel”. It has just been published by Parthian.

Jane Menczer was on BBC Cambridge recently promoting her title An Unlikely Agent (£8.99, pb, 978 1846973802) which was published last month by Birlinn. The book bloggers have gone mad for this title: “I would heartily recommend it if you enjoy spy novels with a twist of romance, elements of danger and plenty of nail-biting suspense”; “an enthralling Edwardian espionage thriller featuring an endearing, independent female lead and lashings of intrigue”; “an engrossing read, with many funny moments, and I rather hope this gifted debut novelist dishes up more detective delights in the very near future”.

When does a riot become a revolution? When does a demonstration of dissent tip over into a moment of unstoppable political change? Protest: Stories of Resistance (pb, £14.99, 978 1905583737) asked fifteen authors to bring crucial moments of British protest to life. Each author is paired with either a historian or a genuine witness to the protest; resulting in the stories being both readable and factually informed; and each tale is then followed by an accessibly written afterword by the witness or historian. By following fictional characters caught up in the momentum of nonfictional moments, the stories offer rare insights into protests from a live, street-level perspective and include the Peasants Revolt, the Suffragettes, the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, Greenham Common, and more. The authors include Frank Cottrell Boyce, David Constantine, Alexei Sayle and Maggie Gee. This is a brilliant and timely idea for a short story anthology – it has a great cover and it is published by Comma Press on 6 July. You can see some of the authors reading their stories on YouTube here.

So, let’s end with the Top Ten Protest Songs! Power to the people! Right now!

That’s all for now folks! More next week!

This blog is taken from a newsletter which is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696. And if you'd like to subscribe to the newsletter so that you get it every week in your own inbox then please submit your email at the foot of this page!

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